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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Gracious!

With all the excitement recently and my health taking a new turn for the strange, I've gotten behind on everything I wanted to do for the last few weeks.  I won't lament lost time, though.  I have news!  There are a couple things to share, actually.

1. I won a contest.  
Oh Jim Carey, you say it so well.

Mich L. in L.A. runs periodic 'Guess the Mystery Item' contests on her blog.  After reading up on the different past contests she'd run and becoming inspired to try out some unconventional projects, I decided to enter.  Because, why not?  It's just for fun, anyway.  Well, I entered and I won!  I received one of her Ring on Fire prototypes, along with two of the mini-plastic bowling pins she used to make them.  Just a few days ago, she posted a tutorial on how to make your own.  Check it out!


2.  My blog's page view rate has shot up.

Thanks Dreamstime.com!

This is a good thing because it means that you guys are appreciating my posts.  I know that I can be very very silly, so it means a lot to me when my written musings can entertain others.  One of my favorite things to do is to be silly, you know.  You guys are just enabling me to do it more often. 


3.  I'm reopening my Etsy shop after months of inactivity.  
More coming soon!

Those hats and infinity scarves are piling up.  We don't live in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, so I can't just magic my room bigger or my projects and supplies smaller to suit my needs.  So, I need to make room.  Selling my projects for a low price enables me to share them with people who appreciate them and make room for more. 


4.  I'm brewing a Contest concept.
I hope to have it out in time for spring.  I have to figure out some nice prizes though. 


That's all for today.  I'm going to have a rest now. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Ode to a Lady: Indeed

I have made another hat, this time a bit more grand.  It's a red hat, after all.  Red hats have to be dolled up and pampered.    I began by adding a bit of lace cording to the band of the hat.

I know you can see the fluff peeking out the back. 

Indeed.
I chose to expand on mother's idea of adding netting and tulle.  While I'm not a huge fan of the stuff, it does give a nice effect and looks quite flashy when you...pleat and trim it like so.  Rather than giving unstructured body, it gives body, shading, tone and drama to what would otherwise be a plain hat with some simple embellishments on it. 

As I was preparing to put the hat together, I decided that some feathers were a must.  A bright red hat with some netting isn't very stylish. 

Hat and Design element facing forward
I tried turning the hat in a variety of directions in order to get a feel for how versatile it is stylistically.  A hat with a fancy doodad is great, but I've seen too many of them in stores that you can only wear a certain way.  I wanted to make sure that it would look good no matter how I chose to rotate it. 

Embellishments on the side with the fringe of netting hanging over the face...

Embellishments facing the back of the head
I'd say I was successful.  I like the effect of the paper flowers and rhinestones against the bright red and black iridescence of the feathers. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Hat: A Bit of the Meadow

This is my second hat attempt.  My creative juices were beginning to gain steam as I started to disassociate the little ready made hats with 'completeness'.  Looking at them more like broken watch parts to be assembled into something for my own designs helped me to determine how their shape and size could lend itself to something cute and whimsical. 

The hats are small, only about 5 inches tall.  There's a limited amount of pomp and circumstance you can toss on them before they become ridiculous and topple off your head in a burst of over-balanced glory.  Still, I wanted to try something more fantastical. 

YAY BUTTERFLIES!
I brought forth this little baby.  I bet you can't guess what the butterflies came from or what they're made of.  They're actually scrap-booking supplies.  Glittery, glacee butterflies to be exact.  For those of you who don't know, glacee is a weird semi-flexible polymer. They commonly use it to make synthetic leather. 

I was afraid that the glitter and rhinestones would fall off, so I gave the butterflies a liberal application of air-dry resin, followed by some clear nail lacquer.  Those are the only things I know that will protect a glittering object from shedding without dulling its sparkle.  Very important since these babies are attached to a hat and one expects them to be bobbling around on your head as you skip and sway at your fancy tea parties.

It's like you took a tiny piece of a faerie meadow and plopped it on a hat!
This hat was fun to make.  I set aside my internal filters and decided to just have fun with it.  In the end, the decorations that I thought would be 'too much' ended up being cute and tasteful when paired with small flowers and a simply black felt hat.  Take some design cues from that. 

I want to make something like this again- or perhaps, something much grander.  We'll see. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Miniature Top Hat: Keeping it simple

Now that you've seen my tutorial for making a fancy little hat fascinator (If you haven't, Here You Go), I felt that I needed to put my own instructions into action and give you a little snippet of what I've done with this handy, dandy bit of knowledge.  Be aware, there aren't many pictures of this first attempt because well, it's the first try.  The first try either blows all normal conventions out of the water or is a simplistic precursor to the fantastic.

I made this hat using the 'Purchase and Decorate' method and I'll be honest, it was hard to get it started.  I'm not sure if it's just me, but when I get something ready made, it takes my brain a moment to make the leap to Creativity Land.
Courtesy of Pacroid.blogspot.com

Setting a design is always the hardest part.  It's even harder when your brain forgets that this little hat is NOT complete and needs some pizzazz.  Mine chose the moment that I needed it to create things to go on a vacation, so I borrowed mom's.  Her brain was stuck on netting and tulle.  The fluffier the better.   
It's not fluffy enough.

I wasn't so sure about this idea, even after she regaled me with photos of fancy hats decked out in fluffy stuff.  As a rule, I only like fluffy skirts, kittens and cupcake frosting.  I became a little afraid when she declared, "More tulle!  MORE!  Use the whole roll!"  But I did as she suggested.  I pleated the tulle on one side to form little lumps that remind you of one of those 1940s hairstyles and tied it into a big fluffy bow in the back of the hat, secured it with a few drops of glue.
Like this but with less film star attached to it.

I needed to tulle it up.  The hat would have been pitiful without it.  After we tweaked and poked at the hat, we both determined that it still needed something...  I decided that it needed something shiny to balance all the matte textures.  The end result was this.

Big tulle bow worn in the front. 

Big tulle bow worn on the side

The good thing is that the tulle bow feature looks great.  The bad thing is that the rest of the hat looks a little plain by comparison.  In the near future, I may add more to it...I need to go craft shopping first. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Hatter Madness: Tutorial 2

So, I'm sure you all remember the tutorial I did for Fascinators and hats not too long ago.  If you don't, here it is.  Well, I made that tutorial before I learned that there were other construction options available to those who don't want to devote a ton of time stitching, starching and wiring.  It seems that there are pre-made hat forms with the clips already attached available from eBay.  All you need to do is decorate them.  Well, don't that beat all?

So now you can make a nifty fascinator in less time, gathering fewer materials and without having to use every craft skill known to man- unless you WANT to.  So here you go!  Hatter Madness Tutorial number 2!

Materials:
  • 1 Mini-top hat, bowler, tricorn or high top-hat
  • Glue (Locktite or E6000) 
  • Scissors
  • Ribbon
  • Some feathers
  • Silk flowers
  • Beads and other decorations

And now the instructions.  You'll be surprised at how easy they are!

Instructions:
  1. Assemble the materials you want to use.
  2. Make a basic design arrangement for your hat.
  3. Glue the items to the hat in an order that best balances the decor and hides any unfinished edges.
  4. Allow it to dry completely (Very important.  You don't want to super glue a hat to your head)
  5. Wear it.

Friday, February 1, 2013

To Infinity and Beyond: Part Three! Scarves!

Ok.  I've forced you guys to wait long enough.  Any longer and this will read like a really bad horror movie and you'll all leave me to be swallowed by the monsters of my own making.  I'm going to cut to the chase.  Starting with the scarf made of jersey knit.

I gave this one to a friend.   Such a pretty color!
The above scarf was less than a yard of fabric.  It's comfortable, slightly stretchy and keeps your neck warm without making you too hot


Oh Starry Night! 
The scarf above is actually made of a sheer woven fabric that I can't remember the origins of.  I only remember that it was very pretty and it ended up in my shopping cart.  I had enough fabric to make two scarves and they came out rather stylish.  Since the fabric is woven, it does not stretch, but it's long enough to wear creatively and looks great with jeans and even with my hoodie.

Hello world!
I think I smiled waaaaay too big in this one.
 The red scarf was made out of a SUPER STRETCHY knit of mixed fibers.  I purchased it as a remnant from Vogue Fabrics on Roosevelt Road.  At the time, I was thinking of making a top out of it, but when the time came to cut it out, the pattern was difficult to line up in a flattering way.... So.  SCARF!    The fabric's drape and body lends itself nicely to the look of elegance.

The final scarf!
I actually made three of these.  I bought the fabric at Vogue, on sale.  It is a grey, black, and white stretch knit with little hairs all over it.  The weave is kind of  open, so it breathes and keeps you relatively cool.  However, the scarf is VERY arm.  This fabric is the only fabric that I bought with the sole purpose of turning it into a scarf .  I was planning to try out infinity scarves on a day when I was tired of applying to jobs all day, so I wanted a fabric similar to the kind I saw used in the expensive scarves at Carson's.  I found it at Vogue.  And here we are.

Special thanks to my mother for taking the photos.  I couldn't have done it without you.